Motlow State Soccer Belize Trip Cut Short Due to Pandemic
Motlow State visiting a school in Belmopan. Photo from Andy Lyon
By Bethany Porter
MTN Sports Reporter
March 26, 2020
The Lady Bucks’ trip to Belize along with their spring season came to an unexpected end due to COVID-19.
Motlow’s soccer team traveled to Belize over their spring break to play two games, but little did they know at the time that their first game there would be their last of the season. While they were traveling, the pandemic worsened putting all sports to an end. The trip was also shortened due to health concerns.
“We trained Monday [March 10] and Tuesday [March 11] at the national facility before getting word on Wednesday [March 13] that we needed to leave ASAP,” said head coach Andy Lyon.
They were unable to get a flight until March 12, so the team used their last day in Belize to donate to a school in Belmopan. The team donated soccer balls, cones, and school supplies.
The Lady Bucks also left their old Motlow uniforms at the Belize Football Federation and they will be sent to a school in San Pedro for them to wear. Supplies were supposed to be personally distributed to other schools before the trip was cut short.
“When we arrived at the airport the next day, we were greeted by a representative of the school we were supposed to visit in Belize City," said Lyon. "We left him with a large bag full of soccer and school equipment.”
The team had no idea when they left Tennessee that when they returned life would be so different. After an adventurous trip canoeing, exploring Lamanai Mayan ruins, playing soccer and giving to the local community, the team came home to their spring season ended.
“I’m devastated for the girls," said Lyon. "They had worked really hard and for them not to be able to play games and practice is really difficult but completely understandable considering what is going on.”
Sophomore Ashley Woods chose not to travel to Belize due to virus concerns and consequently missed out on one last chance to play for Motlow.
“I feel like I didn’t know when I last played soccer [it] would be the last time I played soccer. I wish I had known so I would have played like [it was] my last game,” said Woods.
The Lady Buck does not regret her decision to miss the trip to Belize and feels she did what was safe for herself and her family.
Photo from Andy Lyon
Before the Lady Bucks received the bad news, they had an eventful trip. Lyon said when they arrived in Belize City on March 6th, they were greeted at the airport by the Belize Football Federation.
That night, they trained and met a lot of locals at the People’s Stadium. The team received a tour of the city where they were stopped a couple times for pictures by locals who heard they were coming.